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Rolls-Royce 'comfortable' with Trent 7000 output: chief

Rolls-Royce has increased Trent 7000 production and delivered 54 of the Airbus A330neo-powering engines during the first half of this year.

During a results briefing today, the UK manufacturer's chief executive Warren East described the delivery performance as "good" and as a "big turnaround in shipments" for the programme. The Trent 7000 is the sole engine available for the A330neo.

The long-haul aircraft's entry into service last year was delayed by hold-ups in the Trent 7000 programme. These also led to an initial restriction of extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS), to 180min rather than 330min, with an engine-use limitation of 500 cycles.

Noting the "serious questions" around the Trent 7000 at that time, East says R-R is now "comfortable" with the programme's status.

Deliveries increased during first quarter and were sustained during the second, he says.

In addition to the 54 Trent 7000s, R-R delivered seven Trent 700s – an option on the A330ceo – in the first half. It had delivered 41 during the six-month period last year.

Total large-engine deliveries to customers declined marginally, to 257 from 259. But R-R says it shipped an additional 14 engines to Airbus. These are awaiting installation at the airframer's assembly line in Toulouse.

East says the manufacturer is "very pleased" to have reduced its average loss per engine delivery to £1.3 million ($1.8 million), from £1.5 million.

The Trent XWB – the sole engine available for the A350 – was the driver of cost reductions. Its costs were reduced by a third during the first half, and the company is on track to break even on Trent XWB production in 2020, East says.

He links the Trent XWB's improved financial performance to both production-cost reductions and the removal of sale incentives for early A350 customers.

For the full year, R-R is forecasting around 500 large-engine deliveries.

East notes that the manufacturer estimated in previous years that its annual large-engine output would reach 600. But he argues that the higher projection was a result of "a period of ordering above trend", while "about 500 deliveries" is more closely aligned with an underlying growth in demand for widebodies over the coming years.

He expects the number of in-service R-R engines to surpass 6,500 in "a few years' time". The figure is just under 4,900 today.

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